Saturday, February 26, 2011

A Caribou Treat

Ella & I recently had an afternoon chat at Caribou in Canal Park with our friend Alyssa. After getting settled in, Ella discovered Alyssa's frozen coffee drink and tried just a sip. I got a bit excited and thought it might be a great time for Ella to have her first own little blended drink in a wee cup. I'm sure the girl behind the counter could sense my giddiness as I ordered a junior-sized cookies & cream Snowdrift. Fancy, fancy, fancy. I never order anything like that! And yes, I allowed them to load the top with whipped cream. I proudly handed it to Ella and watched her enjoy the first few sips. What a big girl.

So there we sat, enjoying our Caribou drinks in the busyness of the shop, chatting with our friend. Ella decided she enjoyed sticking the straw into the top of the cup and using it like a spoon rather than sucking it through the straw. Maybe I should have sensed through my still-developing mama sensor that this was leading to disaster, but I was enjoying the experience too much.

And then it happened. In one swift move, the cup slid off the table, poured down Ella's entire outfit, and landed with a plop on the floor. Oy. Goodbye to three-quarters of the yummy treat my girl was still enjoying. After getting both the floor and Ella cleaned up, she finished what was left in the cup. In the end, it didn't actually matter a bit that she lost most of the drink. Really, it was so much more about the experience we shared together.

I'm glad we're only at the beginning of those experiences.

Friday, February 25, 2011

One More Adventure

I forgot to post this adventure! The girls went exploring up the stairs, curious about what might be found.

What did they discover?

A mysterious door just their size! They were so excited to find something on their side of the gate. Ella seemed to lead the way with plenty of encouragement from her cousin.

They did eventually get the door open, where they found the pipes for the bathtub! Such a discovery! Isn't it fun to experience adventures through the eyes of little ones?

Two Girlies

Six days with two little girls equaled lots of little adventures! Ella & Malena completely enjoyed spending their days together. Every time Ella realized that Malena was still here in the morning or after her nap, she was giddy.

Malena practiced her baby care skills with Ella's dolly.

On a trip to the hospital to visit baby Maira and Mama Bex, I strapped on two little backpacks and followed the girls through the halls.

Having a wee chat.

A police cruiser at the mall.

Lunch in the nook! We were just about to head out the door, hence the jackets.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Maira Marie Has Arrived!

Early on the morning of Friday, February 18, my newest niece Maira Marie said hello to the world. Weighing 9 1/2 pounds and measuring 22 inches, she surprised us all. What a girl! And look at all that hair. It's just like her big sister, Malena's, when she was born.

She looks just like Mama Bex did in her baby pictures.

And here's the proud big sister!

Daddy Darell with his girls.

Grandma Scott showed Ella her new baby cousin.

Ella was amazed. She loves babies.

Malena has been staying with us since early Thursday morning. We're pretty close buddies now.

Proud Uncle Jake.

My baby niece. What a doll. Her middle name is after me! I love that.

We're so blessed to welcome another healthy little girl into the Scott family. Congratulations, Becky & Darell. You've got two beautiful girls.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Valentine Sugar High Party

What do you get when you start out with this...

...and add these...

...and this?

A Valentine Sugar High!

To celebrate the special day of love this year, Ella and I dressed in our Valentine red & pink, slipped on the red, sparkly ballet flats (Ella's favorite) and headed to the Second Annual Sugar High party hosted by our dear friends Jake & Diana. Jake provided the decorations but couldn't actually be at the party. Diana was an amazing hostess, providing bowls and bowls of red, sugar-covered everything and fun activities for the kiddos.

Here's Ella in her very own "pirate love hat."

Notice the red something in Ella's hand above? That's a Peep. Quite the popular item in the Johnson/Scott family tradition, no matter the holiday. Let's reflect for a moment on what Peeps are made of...SUGAR! Ella did not have crazy amounts of the good stuff during the party, but it was still enough to steer away her afternoon nap. Oy. Can I tell you how things get around here with a 19 month-old who hasn't slept? Let's just say, it didn't help her overnight sleep pattern. Thus, yesterday's story time at Barnes & Noble was NOT a success. However, the little darling is now sleeping peacefully in her crib and I've had quite the productive afternoon.

Overall, it was a lovely Valentine's Day! I was so glad to attend the Sugar High party, as it was the only celebrating I got to do that day. Pete & I have postponed our own celebration until this weekend when his schedule will be a bit lighter.

A note on my photos: I decided to change things up for this post and use a fun filter for the Valentine photos. (Although I haven't decided how much I like it for this particular post.) I take all of my pictures on my iPhone. It's always with me and usually takes the same quality as my little point & click. For the above pics, I used the Instagram app. It's free and is a simple way to add a little fun to regular photos!

Monday, February 14, 2011

A Valentine For You!

Ella's been working hard on her valentines!

This one is for you!

We've been incredibly blessed in the last year through lots of amazing friendships, so it's fun to take a special day like Valentines Day to think about all the people we really love. We know we wouldn't be the people we are without you, so thank you. You deserve this valentine!

"We love because He first loved us."
1 John 4:19

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Recipe: Berry Custard Pie

Feel like sneaking a taste of summer in the middle of a bitterly cold winter? This yummy pie is a perfect way to do just that. I discovered this berry custard pie recipe on Martha Stewart's website a couple weeks ago and have fallen in love with it.
The original recipe called for fresh raspberries, but fresh raspberries are expensive around here this time of year. The first time I made it, I used a pound of frozen blackberries. On Thursday this week I made four more to serve at a class at church and used a lovely triple berry mix of frozen blueberries, blackberries and raspberries. Experiment with what you like! In my book, it's hard to go wrong with berries. Yum.

Start with a regular crust. You can use my no-fail crust recipe (follow the complete baking instructions on the bottom of the post) or buy a pre-made crust. I've done it both ways. If you buy your crust, go for the frozen, deep-dish variety and bake it on your own. This was actually the first time I've used a store bought crust, and I was fairly happy with the end result. I definitely recommend making your own when possible, but don't feel bad if you prefer to buy yours. You'll still end up with a pie!

If you use frozen berries, it's best to thaw them first and drain the extra juice. Then follow the recipe below.

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 cup heavy cream
1 pound (3 1/2 cups) berries
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk flour and 1/2 cup sugar in a medium bowl. Add egg and cream and whisk to combine. Toss berries, remaining 1/4 cup sugar and salt in a medium bowl. Spoon berries into crust, then pour in cream mixture, filling to just below the rim.

Bake until custard is set but still a bit wobbly in the center, about 45 minutes. Let cool in dish on a wire rack. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Garnish with fresh berries and serve cold.

I can't wait until I can swing in to the farmers' market this summer for fresh berries. In the meantime, this is the perfect taste of summer.


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Uncle Jake's Influence

Today it's his shoes and aviators. I can't even imagine what it will be a year from now when she's talking. I guess that's what uncles are for!

Monday, February 7, 2011

What a Game!

Yay Packers! What a team! We had a blast watching the game with a couple friends and their son, who was impressively knowledgeable about football for being just 7. They're pretty big Packers fans so we were appropriately surrounded by Packers' helmets, blankets, hats, party plates, and, of course, a cheese head hat.

Ella cheered for our team as long as she could. Then she happily settled into her Pack n Play to watch Backyardigans in a neighboring room. She came out for the very end of the game to cuddle with Daddy and see her team win the Super Bowl!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Go Packers!

We're ready to cheer! Ella has been practicing her "go go" all week. This morning at church she was pretty proud to show it off. Hopefully her cheer dress will bring good luck!

In case you're curious, Ella is half Wisconsin/half Minnesotan. Hence the Packer pride today!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Thursday, February 3, 2011

A Weekend of Sledding

This past Saturday and Sunday all three of us enjoyed a little get-away in the northern Wisconsin woods for the first year residency retreat. The highlight of the weekend was our trip to the tubing hill. What is it about a hill covered in snow mixed with the whooshing of freezing wind past your ears as you fly downward on a rubber tube? It's an adventure at any age!

We bundled Ella in her pink snowsuit and boots, plopped on her hat, and tried to convince her it really was for her own good that she keep her mittens on. We weren't great examples. Neither Pete or I had hats since we had only planned for Ella to go sledding. I had pictured a gentle hill, a small ditch perhaps, for her first true sledding excursion. Instead we ended up here with a bunch of crazy docs who, in typical resident fashion, went well above and beyond the regular tubing style. (Think three tubes, one person.)

Ella absolutely loved it! She was incredibly brave as the three of us barreled down the hill, side-by-side. Then Daddy would pull her back to the top (a great reason to always go sledding with Daddy) and we would do it all over again. We kept this up until Pete & I realized how cold our ears were.

So back to the cabin we went where we cozied up to the fire and continued to relax. It was a lovely mini vacation, indeed.

Oh! I almost forgot! Here is a video of Ella's first trip down the hill. It's a bit rough in places, but I was, after all, speeding down a hill for most of the recording. If you expand it to full screen, you may be able to see it better.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Recipe: French Silk Pie

Last week I was asked to bake a few things for our residency retreat over the weekend. I know that it's not usually the greatest idea to try out brand new recipes for such occasions, but I felt I'd be forgiven if something didn't turn out. Besides, when you're staying in a cabin in the woods surrounded by gorgeous trees and lakes, the snow is falling, you've got a glass of wine or a really good cup of coffee, doesn't everything just seem okay? Add that to the fact that there were six kids in the cabin all under the age of 2 1/2 and I'm pretty sure anyone would have eaten anything with a half-way sophisticated flavor.

So after a little searching, I narrowed my choices to two pies and a batch of fudge brownies. I had wanted to make biscotti, too, but I was already a little behind on class work, so I dropped that one. (Thanks to those of you who helped me come to that conclusion.) The first pie was a lovely, simple French silk that I found on

This recipe requires very few ingredients and not a lot of time. The only thing you'll have to know is that the filling needs to be chilled for a while before serving it, so plan ahead. It's completely up to you whether you want to buy a crust or make one. If you decide to make one, my mom's no-fail pie crust works beautifully.

1/2 cup butter, room temperature
3/4 cup white sugar
2 (1 oz) squares unsweetened baking chocolate, melted & cooled
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
1 prepared 8 inch pastry shell

Cream butter in a mixing bowl. Gradually beat in the sugar with an electric mixer until light colored and well blended. Stir in the thoroughly cooled chocolate and vanilla. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating five minutes on medium speed after each addition. (The filling may not set well if you rush this.) Spoon the chocolate filling into a cooled, baked pie shell. Refrigerate at least two hours before serving.

I also recommend covering the top in fresh or store bought whipped cream and sprinkling bits of chocolate across the top. You can't see that in my picture because I actually made the pie four days before serving it. And guess what? It still tasted amazing. (Mind you I only had one bite. I'm just starting phase two of this round of P90X and I'm trying to be really good.) I'm thankful for cold weather in such a situation because I never once had to put it in a refrigerator. It stayed perfectly cool in the back of the Jeep. So if you need to bake something ahead of time, this is the one to pick. I thought the brownies would fare better. I was wrong. They were dry. Blah.

Let me know if you end up trying this fairly simple recipe. It's delish!



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